It’s an understandable worry – will my child be safe volunteering in a foreign country? For many teenagers, this will be the first time leaving their home town. Furthermore, they will be travelling to a developing country they know very little about. And what a daunting prospect!
But we’re here to tell you that your teenager is in good hands. Projects Abroad have been running volunteer trips since 1992 – we have plenty of experience looking after our volunteers and making sure they have a wonderful time abroad.
Here are a few of the most common questions that parents of our High School Special volunteers have:
How will you ensure the safety of my teenager?
Projects Abroad prides ourselves on providing unparalleled support.
- Pre-departure: Each volunteer is assigned a friendly Volunteer Advisor. Their role is to guide your teenager through the preparation process, answering questions and offering advice - such as what to pack, for example. We have an in-house travel team who can help with flight bookings. Wherever possible, we book volunteers on the same flight. We also help to arrange visas where needed.
- Arrival: Your child will be picked up at their arrival airport by a Projects Abroad staff member, and taken directly to their host family or project accommodation. We offer 24 hour support in-destination, so if they feel unwell and need a doctor, for instance, we will be there to help. We will ensure they have our emergency contact details when they arrive.
- In-country: High School Specials are fully supervised, so volunteers will be escorted to and from their project placement. Furthermore, there are Projects Abroad staff members with the group at all times during their volunteering activities and social events. Between staff members and the host families, volunteers will not be left unsupervised or unaccompanied.
Will they be able to stay in contact with home?
Volunteers receive an induction on arrival. As part of this, a local staff member will show them where and how to buy a local SIM card. Some destinations also have internet access, whether at the host family or an internet café in town. Staff members make sure that High School Special volunteers contact their family to let them know they’ve arrived safely.
Where will they stay?
Most of our volunteers will stay with host families, who have been carefully chosen for safety, friendliness and comfort. Volunteers will be welcomed with open arms, and there will often be a small group of them staying at each host family. Living with a host family is also a wonderful way for our High School Special volunteers to experience the local culture and way of life.
Due to the more remote location of some of our Conservation projects, volunteers on these placements will stay in shared bungalows or dormitories on the Conservation base.
In some destinations, including Nepal and Mongolia, High School Special volunteers are accommodated at a local hotel or guest house.
What will they eat?
Our volunteers receive three meals a day which are usually representative of the local cuisine. On many placements, there will also be visits to local restaurants. If your teenager has any specific food allergies, we will always be able to accommodate these – just let us know when you apply.
How many other volunteers will there be?
It all depends on the amount of people that have signed up for a specific project. On average, each High School Special has around 10 – 15 volunteers, with some as many as 30. With the more niche projects, there are usually a smaller number of volunteers. If you’re interested in finding out how many people have signed up for a particular project, do give us a call and we will let you know.
What will they be doing?
This very much depends on the project that they choose. In general, there will be a mixture of hands-on volunteer activities, as well as cultural and social events. Each High School Special is structured so volunteers will follow a timetable of tasks – there are sample itineraries available on the individual project pages. Here is one example.
What about the language barrier?
Most of our host families have at least a limited proficiency in English. There will also always be at least one, if not more, local staff members who can speak English.
There are cheaper programmes out there. Why should we choose you?
Our fee includes your food and accommodation, transport to and from your placement, airport transfers, as well as travel and medical insurance. You also receive 24 hour support from our local destination staff, and as mentioned, these projects are fully supervised. Finally, we organise incredible weekend trips and social events for our volunteers on the High School Specials.
We also work hard to ensure that our projects are worthwhile, both for the volunteers and the communities in which we work. Read more about how we do this.
Will my teenager need to bring extra money?
We recommend that our volunteers bring some extra money with them, so that they can buy snacks and souvenirs while overseas.
My question isn’t included here. How can I find out more?
Please give us a call on 021 671 7008 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our friendly Programme Advisors will be able to help you further!